Posted 17th Nov 2017
You don't have to throw old candles away - it's easy to recycle them to make new candles or Christmas tree decorations
To make these decorative orange candles, cut an orange in half and scoop out the flesh up to the white inner edge to leave you with just the rind. While you melt the wax in an old pan and get rid of any old wicks and dirt, tie the new wick tight to a wooden skewer and suspend this inside the orange shell. Make sure that the orange mould is secured firmly in place. Then, pour a small amount of wax into the rind and leave to set; this will give the wick the stability it needs. Afterwards, pour the remaining wax into the rind, filling it to the rim. Cut off the wick below the skewer and decorate the edge of the candle with cloves.
1 To make your own wax Christmas tree decorations, you will need a saucepan, a milk pan, a roasting tin, baking paper, festive-shaped cookie cutters, star anise and some old candles.
2 Line the roasting tin with a generous amount of baking paper. Melt some of the wax over a bain-marie. Do not allow the wax to boil as it could spit and burn. Remove the remains of the wick(s). Cover the base of the roasting tin with a thin layer of wax and place the cutters on top. Lay one star anise in the middle of each. Put the remaining candles in the milk pan and melt these. Next, fill the cookie cutters with wax, making sure the star anise is still peeking out.
3 Once they have cooled and set, remove the decorations from the cutters. Heat a needle over the flame of a candle and make a hole in each star or heart decoration so that they can be hung up. The most natural look will be achieved if you use parcel string to hang the decorations on the tree.
Cast your own candles
Prior to any wax casting, it is important to brush the inside of the glasses you intend to use as moulds with cooking oil. This works best with a regular paintbrush. The oil helps you to remove the candles from the mould without them falling to pieces after they have cooled. If you are using plastic moulds, do not heat the wax to more than 80ÂºC as this will melt the mould.
Rustic cinnamon candles
1 Home-made candles with cinnamon sticks around the outside make great decorations. To ensure the spice sticks are sufficiently stable, you should first attach the wick to a wooden brushed with oil, and pour in a little wax. Then place the cinnamon sticks in the wax, which is slowly setting, around the edge of the glass. Any small gaps between the cinnamon sticks will be filled by the wax in its liquid state.
2 The remaining wax can now be poured in. The cinnamon sticks should be about one centimetre higher than the wax.
3 Once the candle has set, you can carefully pull it out of the mould by its wick. If necessary, you can also use a small knife to help you to gently remove the candle from the glass.
4 You can remove any excess wax on the outer edge by briefly applying heat with a hairdryer and then scraping off the soft leftover wax with a kitchen knife. For the finishing touch cut off the wick below the wooden skewer.
Colourful layered candles
If you think candles have to be one colour, then think again. If you have leftover wax in different colours, you can make your own multi-coloured creations.
1 Rinsed-out milk or juice cartons are ideal for creating square shapes. Cut these to the height you want, hang the wick inside and start with one of the candle colours. Allow the first layer to set before adding the next colour. This will prevent the colours from mixing. Continue in a similar fashion until you have your finished candle.
2 Once cool, the layered candle can be easily removed from the mould by tearing open the carton from the side.
If you prefer round candles, use hi-ball glasses as your moulds brushed with oil, as mentioned opposite.
Beautiful bark-wrapped candles
1 Before you pour the liquid wax into the glass, brush the inside of the glass with oil. Fasten the new wick to a wooden skewer and suspend this inside the container. As soon as the end of the wick is immersed in wax, wait for the wax to become touch dry. This will ensure that the wick is fixed in place in the centre. Once this is done, you can pour the remaining wax into the glass.
2 Cut the birch bark into suitably-sized pieces and stick to the candle using small adhesive pads, which you can buy from any craft shop. Tie parcel string around too for a finishing touch.
If the bark is soft and pliable, it will be enough to simply wrap it tight around the candles with string. Candles decorated in this manner look really pretty in Advent wreaths. To fasten them in the arrangement, simply heat a strong piece of wire (available from craft shops) and fix this to the bottom of the candle.